6 p.m. — A Cube of Sugar is a 110-minute Iranian film with English subtitles. From SIFF:
The youngest daughter of large Iranian family, Pasandide, is getting married. The day before the wedding, her sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and grandparents all gather at the family compound of Uncle Ezzatolah. The location, with its lush garden courtyards and labyrinthine parlors and passageways, is an ideal site for this multigenerational summer reunion—erratic electrical system notwithstanding. The women cook, sew, gossip, and tease; the nephews try to frighten each other with ghost stories; one uncle digs for buried treasure while another worries about bad news from his doctor. In honor of the happy couple, there are presents, music, and a lavish feast. Yet before the ceremony can take place, a single sugar cube transforms the event into something quite different, if no less suffused by this family's love for one another. Director Reza Mirkarimi captures the proceedings with imagery that is a celebration in its own right; vibrant with light and color, sometimes slipping into slow motion as if to linger in the beauty of these moments—some special, some quite ordinary—that make up the fabric of life itself.
8:30 p.m. — The Woman in the Septic Tank is a 87-minute Filipino film with English subtitles. From SIFF:
A pair of ambitious independent filmmakers believe they've crafted the perfect festival bait: the tragic tale of Mila, a widow in such abject poverty that she must sell one of her seven children (or was it nine?) to a Western pedophile. Enthralled with the idea of their upcoming international fame and local notoriety, they constantly re-imagine their story with all kinds of twists—mostly based on how well they will play to audiences. Should they choose the older, well-known actress or the cute ingenue? Is it more shocking if the child is a boy or a girl? Would it be better as a gritty drama that blurs the lines between documentary and narrative, a soap-style melodrama, or even a musical? First-time director Marlon Rivera cleverly skewers the pretensions of the indie film industry at every step of the filmmaking process, from interviewing their prospective leading lady (Eugene Domingo, playing herself) to intense location scouting in Manila's worst slums. Full of movie industry in-jokes, this wry meta-comedy was a huge hit in the Philippines, covering new and surprising ground, and raising some provocative questions about the creative process.